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Walter Gretzky Remembered, Tom Wilson Suspended, Barzal Dazzles

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It’s the Monday edition of Links, News, and Notes

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
  • As you are likely aware, Walter Gretzky passed away on Thursday at the age of 82. There was a funeral held in Brantford on Saturday, where Wayne eulogized his father. You can read a full transcript here.
  • Bruce Garrioch shares some thoughts on how Pierre Dorion might be approaching the trade deadline. For a variety of reasons, Bruce is guessing Erik Gudbranson and Ryan Dzingel won’t be moved. That leaves Mike Reilly as the UFA most likely to garner outside interest. The Sens have a fair amount of depth on their left side, but Reilly’s play alongside Artem Zub has be one of the season’s real bright spots. I’d be surprised to see much action at all, but it’s also true that no GM loves to deal like Pierre Dorion.
  • Tim Baines has a nice, lengthy profile of Marc Methot and his life after hockey in the Ottawa Sun. The piece covers a wide range of topics, but I was particularly interested by Methot’s reflection on his gradual acceptance that a return to the NHL was not going to be possible. Clearly, the desire to continue playing at the highest level was still there but his body could no longer tolerate the grind. It sounds like, 2 years after his last game, he’s in a good place and is excited for the Wally and Methot Show.
  • Tom Wilson has been suspended seven games for his high hit on Brandon Carlo of the Boston Bruins on Friday night. It’s the fifth time that Wilson has been suspended since 2017, and considering how lax the Department of Player Safety can be in this regard that’s really saying something. Wilson has said he will not appeal the suspension. If he never suited up for another NHL game, I can’t say I’d miss him that all much.
  • Over at ESPN, Greg Wyshynski rates how “hot” the seat is for each of the NHL’s 31 coaches. DJ Smith is rated as “lukewarm”. I tend to agree with this statement:

But what are the expectations here? Smith has the Senators — who are not good — playing well enough to be a tough out on most nights in the North Division. For now, that’s fine, but what’s going to be expected in 2021-22?

Smith’s made some head-scratching line-up choices at times, particularly at the start of this year, but the team has also played about as well as could be expected given the talent on hand and the players seem to like him well enough. It’s really hard to complain too much about his time at the helm all-in. Lord knows the Sens have had worse coaches. I don’t really see his job as being in danger this year barring a total catastrophe in the second half but another last place finish won’t cut it next year.